A SHORT HIS­TORY OF THE MONOBLOC

How did a plain and mod­est plas­tic chair reach global dom­i­na­tion? Here’s a lit­tle his­tory les­son.

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1946. Cana­dian de­signer D.C. Simp­son comes out with the first ever monobloc plas­tic chair. (This was right around the time that plas­tic prod­ucts in gen­eral were mak­ing their first big splash in the con­sumer mar­ket af­ter World War II.) As its name im­plies, the monobloc chair is man­u­fac­tured in one piece through a process called in­jec­tion mold­ing. In a nut­shell, hot liq­uid plas­tic is in­jected into a mold and then given time to cool and har­den. To­day, one in­jec­tion-mold­ing ma­chine can typ­i­cally pro­duce 18 to 20 chairs ev­ery hour.

1968. Fa­mous Danish de­signer Verner Pan­ton de­signs the Pan­ton chair. Its form is or­ganic and sinewy, high­light­ing his de­sire to cre­ate fur­ni­ture pieces that “grow out of the floor.” How­ever, the chair is not pro­duced by in­jec­tion, but rather through pressed polyester.

1983. The Gros­fillex group, an in­ter­na­tional fur­nish­ings com­pany based in France, pro­duces the monobloc chair as we know it to­day, dub­bing it as “The Resin Gar­den Chair.” This is the first time the chair is masspro­duced in high vol­umes. Fun fact: the chair cost $50 at the time it was first re­leased, but now re­tails for only $10. An­other fun fact: the chair only costs $3 to pro­duce (yes, that’s only around P150!).

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